Introducing our beyond expectations garden

Full stops normally signal the end of something. But with Henshaws, they led to an award- winning garden everyone can enjoy.

Flower show garden, with paved path and pink fence posts

Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre supports disabled adults, our Art Makers, to go beyond expectations and past barriers that are holding them back.

This simple idea became the centre piece of Henshaws’ logo. When we were invited to create a show garden at the Harrogate Flower Show, we knew that it could revolve around this core message also.

Our sensory and edible garden captures our Art Maker's journey.

Their first tentative steps are signified by the leaf imprints in the tiles gradually growing in size. Explore with them their stages of growth and exploration, all the way to the height of their achievements; represented with a large mosaic of our logo’s full stop. Follow them down the path leading to the gate to the outside world, surrounded by gravel subscrate representing the underlying undercertainty of our Art Maker’s world. Shelter in the ‘safe space’; a flower covered arch which provides a refuge for Art Makers when the challenges they face become excessive.

Close-up images of clay tiles pressed with leaf imprints

You will find a few rough edges in this garden as we don't aim for perfection; simply the best that people can do!

The boundary posts represent the columns of support offered to the Art Makers as they strive to achieve their goals. The level of support needed varies and diminishes over time as each individual is helped to reach their full potential.

We’ve made sure that the garden is vibrant and colourful; just like the atmosphere at the Arts & Crafts Centre. It incorporates elements created by our Art Makers, and the picture is completed by Monty, our flowerpot man.

Every workshop in the Arts & Crafts Centre has been involved in producing the garden

From the mosaic tiles, the signature globes, the ‘wavy bench’, and the textile clematis to the bench cushions, it has been a truly community experience with everyone suggesting ideas and picking things they think would fit together.

Art Makers and volunteers from the Horticulture workshop built the garden itself and helped to plant it. This increased our Art Makers’ confidence and helped to develop their gardening skills, along with the enjoyment of gardening.

Art Maker pressing clay into globe mould
Purple planter full of flowers

The planting shows the various stages of nurture and growth - from seedling to sapling.

The combination of ornamental and edible plants reflects the diversity of needs and varying abilities of people attending the centre. It incorporates some of the wide range of plants grown by the Art Makers in our Horticulture Project, produced for sale and use in our café.

The design of the garden has been deliberately focused so that everyone at the Arts & Crafts Centre and those attending the Festival could engage with it, such as the edible and strong smelling plants, so that those with autism and other disabilities enjoyed the garden also. Similarly, the planting scheme is vibrant and sensory. Strong forms and colour emphasise the visual and Henshaws’ branding.

The flower spikes and cone flowers represent the structure of the retina. It incorporates grasses and other textural plants for tactile interest, sound and movement. The edible plants like mint convey ‘taste’, and there are plenty of fragrant plants such as lavender to complete the picture.

We're thrilled that the Harrogate Flower Show judges journeyed through our garden and recognised our vision.

Our sensory and edible garden won a Silver medal! We’re now moving our award-winning garden to the Arts & Crafts Centre, so even more people can experience and enjoy it.

To find out more, read Sam’s story, about how she experiences the gardens at the Arts & Crafts Centre. Or pop along and experience it for yourself; it’s a multi-sensory space where everyone is welcome. You can discover hidden corners of art and wildlife, and help support us to renovate our unique community garden space.

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Art Maker and volunteer stood by a pale pink fence in the show garden

We can't do it without you

Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.

Donate now

Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.